The Soft Whispers Of Scripture
I am fascinated by the bible character Elijah. There are a number of reasons for this, but one is that he seems to mirror the life of the average Christian: Moments of unparalleled greatness, closely followed by periods of crippling self-doubt. For example, the man who faced off King Ahab and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Ki. 18), is the man who in the very next chapter, is hiding in a cave from Jezebel. The oafish King Ahab did what he always did when he didn’t get his way; he moaned to his wife. Queen Jezebel set about doing whatever was necessary to put a smile back on Ahab’s face; whether it be killing for a vineyard, or in this case taking the life of the irritating prophet Elijah.
And so this is where we meet him. God has a question for him: “What doest thou here, Elijah?” (1 Ki. 19:9, KJV). Maybe this is a question for us too? How did we get to where we are? Dear believer, why do you feel so low? What precipitated it? What caused you to recede into your cave? God wasn’t happy to leave Elijah be; He had lessons to teach Him, and so He does for us too.
God orders Elijah out of the cave and in short time arranges the appearance of a mighty wind, an earthquake, and then a fire. I can imagine Elijah thinking to himself as he observed these phenomena, ‘Isn’t God great? Surely He is speaking to me?’ But what we find is the opposite. God declares that He wasn’t in the wind, earthquake or the fire. And then Elijah hears it: the still small voice. It wasn’t that God hadn’t arranged the great displays, for He had. But what He wanted Elijah to do was get his focus back onto the voice of God, and not all the trials that were around, which the wind, earthquake and fire pictured.
Maybe, dear reader, you need to do the same?
The expression ‘still small voice’ (KJV) is translated as ‘soft whisper’ in the NET. I want to draw your attention to three soft whispers in the New Testament.
First, ‘I will not cast out’ (Jn 6:37). Many a genuine believer has been left on the floor of the cave of soul doubts. There is nothing more debilitating and destructive to our productivity for God. It renders us hopeless and useless in our daily lives. We would do well to focus on the words of the Saviour: “I will in no wise cast out” (KJV). The force of the phrase means ‘I cannot cast out.’ The Saviour is bounded by the confines of His character. His word is granted, and so the soul that comes to Him in genuine repentance and faith, can never, ever be lost. God cannot lie.
Next, “I will come again” (Jn. 14:3). It is possible that we can lose all sense of perspective because we’ve lost faith in the ‘promise of His coming.’ Some folk in Peter’s day had done the same. Peter reminds them why the Lord hadn’t come yet; “the Lord…is longsuffering…not willing that any should perish” (2 Pe. 3:9, KJV). The reason He hasn’t yet come is that He isn’t yet finished in His work. He is still building His church. But after that Church is built, He will come again and “will not tarry” (Heb. 10:37, KJV). Don’t become despondent because of the cultural fires and societal earthquakes all around. Keep your mind on this soft whisper: “I will come again.”
These two together cover the extremes of our Christian experience. The day it started, and the day it will end, that is His coming. But what about in between? How do we get from the one to the other? This is where the Hebrew writer has something to say; “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5, KJV). No matter what we pass through, He will never leave us. We might leave Him, and often, sadly we do. But He cannot leave us. So, says the Hebrew writer, “Be content with such things as ye have” because we have Christ! In the span of a lifetime, the average believer will be called to pass through various trials: health, financial, bereavement to name a few. Maybe soon we will need to add persecution to that list. But these experiences can leave us on the ‘floor of the cave’ in a very real way. Maybe you are there today. Remember the soft whisper of the Saviour: “I will never leave thee;” “I will come again; and "I will not cast out.”